This season, North Stokes ace pitcher Brandi Hole was the eye at the center of the storm.
Hole and the Lady Vikings made school history by knocking off six-time state 1A champion East Surry for the first time, winning the school’s first regular-season conference championship and winning their first-ever conference tournament by defeating arch rival West Stokes in the championship game.
Among the many highs of North Stokes’ 2012 season were a number of lows, including falling to East Surry in the rematch in Pilot Mountain in April to end the dream of a perfect season and losing to West Wilkes in the third round of the state 1A playoffs. The one constant throughout all the ups and downs was Hole and her calming presence on the mound.
Hole said her ability to keep her emotions in check is something she learned over time.
“A long time ago, when I first started pitching, I was really emotional,” she explained. “I just figured out if I was going to do this, I would have to have a better attitude. I realized that if you just calm down, it will all work out.”
And it has worked out incredibly well for Hole. Last fall, she signed a letter-of-intent to play softball for Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Lenoir-Rhyne head softball coach Shena Hollar has great expectations of Hole.
“Brandi is a power left-handed pitcher,” stated Hollar on the Lenoir-Rhyne website. “With two-thirds of our pitching staff graduating, Brandi will see lots of time on the mound for us in 2013. I am very excited about the potential that Brandi will bring to our new pitching staff.”
Hole has won a vast array of awards throughout her illustrious high school career, including being named All-State, All-Northwest Conference and being selected as the Northwest 1A/2A Conference MVP. The Stokes News has named Brandi Hole as its Softball Player of the Year.
“I’m excited and I’m shocked,” Hole said upon hearing news of her most recent honor.
Hole said she began playing softball in the fifth grade and has loved it ever since. In the seventh grade, Brandi was asked to pitch and the rest is history.
This week, Hole will join her travel team, the Carolina Cardinals, to play a softball tournament in Edison, N.J. Hole is savoring every moment she gets to play with her lifelong friends like teammate Kierston Garner, but she’s also looking forward to beginning a new chapter of her life at Lenoir-Rhyne.
“I’m so excited to go to college,” she said.
Hole admits the way her high school career ended was bittersweet, but she wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
“It was a great experience and I hate it ended the way it did,” she said. “We worked hard but we didn’t come out on top.”
Still, Hole takes great pride in knowing that she was part of the Lady Vikings squad that started a new tradition of softball excellence at North Stokes.
“I’m happy and I’m thrilled that we were the team that set the bar so high,” she said. “Hopefully the teams that come after us will raise the bar even higher. I think if they set their mind to it, they can [win a state title] — there’s a lot of potential.”
And there is infinite potential in the talents, abilities and left arm of Brandi Hole, the Stokes News Softball Player of the Year.